Banksia Gardens Community Services is a vibrant community service organisation established in 1979. The organisation’s origins lie in public housing advocacy, and to this day they maintain a very strong connection to the neighbouring Banksia Gardens public housing estate, which housed the association in its early days.
Their mission states that “Banksia Gardens Community Services (BGCS) will be a leader in education, training and community engagement programs. Our services will provide opportunities, particularly for those experiencing disadvantage and poverty, that lead to further education and employment pathways, enhance well-being and transform lives. BGCS will also focus on social justice advocacy and give voice to those in our community who suffer injustice.”
BGCS aim to build social cohesion and reduce structural disadvantage through a wide range of programs targeted at children and young people, and at community members experiencing situations of vulnerability such as poverty, unemployment, precarious physical or mental health, disability, homelessness or substance abuse. Their organisation utilises a non-judgmental, strengths-based approach and it continuously consults with residents to assess community needs.
BGCS is a reputable organisation with an impressive reputation in relation to the administration of projects and programs. This can be demonstrated by their track record as a lead agency in the delivery of several major partnership projects in the last few years.
Some recent examples of such large projects include the Broadmeadows Community Youth Justice Alliance ($1,400,000 over 4 years – funded by the Victorian Department of Justice and Regulation), or the Social Cohesion Through Education Project ($350,000 over 4 years – funded by the Victorian Department of Education and Training). In their recent history (since 2004), there has not been an instance when reporting requirements have not been met within the agreed time frames.
Their capacity to successfully take on projects involving multiple partners can be demonstrated by the recent decision by the Department of Justice and Regulation to re-fund BGCS as the lead agency in the Broadmeadows Community Youth Justice Alliance project involving other large agencies such as Jesuit Social Services, Headspace and YSAS.
Importantly, all of their initiatives enjoy strong support and recognition both from its partners and from the local community. For instance, in 2018 BGCS was declared the winner of the Hume Business Award in the Education and Workplace Learning category. Furthermore, in 2017 BGCS received two Learn Local awards from the Adult, Community and Further Education Board, including one in the category of Learn Local Legend.
Critical to the organisation’s successful history are the financial management skills of their Board of Governance and Executive Management Team, and their rigorous accounting and auditing standards.